Brett Debritz, Brisbane, Australia

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GoMA's pile

A few thoughts on the opening of Brisbane's impressive new Gallery of Modern Art last night:
* I think it was very wise of them not to lay the carpet until after the opening. Those red wine stains are impossible to remove.
* On the subject of drinks, I had to walk a long way to find one of the non-alcoholic variety.
* I got sick of hearing about how many interstate guests were there. As if we need people from elsewhere to validate what's happening in Brisbane. Let's shake off the cringe, people.
* It's great to see they gave this sign (pictured) one last outing.
PS: Yes, I know it's not meant to have carpet and, yes, the headline on this item is meaningless, but I thought it was funny.

Where's Wally? On Nine, of course

Is this the non-scoop of the century? I've just received a press release saying Wally Lewis will speak exclusively to Channel 9 news tonight about his mystery illness. Of course he will; he works for Channel 9. It'd be a surprise if he told all to anyone else.
Update: Wally revealed he is epileptic and, of course, he deserves our best wishes.

Premier attraction

I've met Queensland Premier Peter Beattie a couple of times. I'm not sure if he knows who I am or I just look like somebody he knows or thinks he should know. Whatever the truth of it, he certainly helped me impress a visiting PR person from Sydney today. We organised to meet for coffee at the new State Library and, just after we hooked up, the Premier and his deputy Anna Bligh came wandering past. Mr Beattie looked in my direction and gave me a big wave of acknowledgement. I resisted the temptation to big-note myself to the interstate guest, but I would have been impressed if I was her.

Wiggling all the way to the bank?

I'm not sure if this is appropriate or not, but I can't help wondering whether Sam Moran will be a "real" Wiggle now that he's officially replaced the ailing Greg Page. Will he get the same share of the takings as the other three Wiggles or will he just be an employee on the payroll? I assume Page, as a founding member, will also continue to have a stake in the huge multinational business that is The Wiggles.

TV or not TV in 2007

After the departure of Tracey Spicer from Ten and Naomi Robson from Seven's Today Tonight, Crikey is calling it the "boning season" in television. Of course, officially neither of them were actually sacked - Robson made her own decision to move on and Spicer's contract expired. It makes one wonder, however, how many more departures will occur over the festive season. The rumour mill is already running hot, but I have it on good authority that one Brisbane TV program that is routinely written off around this time of the year will definitely be back in 2007.

Naomi tells all

This just in: Naomi Robson, whose future as host of Today Tonight has been the subject of much discussion in recent weeks, will make a "special announcement" on the program tonight.
Update: She's leaving; more here.

Nova nights change again

First it was Jabba and Justine, then it was Justine and Simon, then Vee and Bossy, now Nova 106.9FM has made what it calls a "permanent change" in its night-time shift. Step forward Dan Lyons and Ken Green, previously known as The Benchwarmers. Here's the Nova press release in full:

Nova 106.9 is pleased to finally announce Dan Lyons and Ken Green as the new hosts of Nova's Night Show in 2007.
Dan & Ken, previously known as "The Benchwarmers" have worked together since 2000, most recently networked throughout Australia on over 42 radio stations.
Dan & Ken are no strangers to Queensland, forging their radio careers here and currently based on the Goldie. The boys are over the moon about moving back to Brissie to host a LOCAL show where they can finally call the time without worrying about 4 time zones!
When we asked Dan how he felt about losing his social life at night he said, "I’m really excited, but I’m still gonna hold onto my dream of spruiking outside $2 discount stores. I can't believe they're handing the reigns to two knobs like us!"

A week of losses

The world has lost some great entertainers in the past few days. French actor Philippe Noiret, US jazz singer Anita O'Day, Broadway producer Betty Comden and BBC radio journalist Nick Clarke have all been added to my Celebrity Deaths Archive.

By the book

The ABC may have declined to publish Jonestown, the controversial Chris Masters biography of radio star Alan Jones, but the national broadcaster is still making some money from the venture. At the time of writing, the book is featured on the front page of the ABC Shop site.

Dancing with the truth?

I guess it's a matter of how contrived you want your "reality" TV to be. Gold Coast chess champ and Dancing with the Stars contestant Arianne Caoli is under fire because she's allegedly a well-trained dancer - even though she told host Daryl Somers that she'd never had a dance lesson. My care factor's pretty low, but people are voting on this thing and the producers owe it them to preserve some integrity in the process.

All I know about Fatty

For some reason, some people have been visiting this site for information about Paul "Fatty" Vautin. I assume it's something to do with a blog item I wrote after I ran into Fatty a few months ago at a Channel 9 function for The Footy Show (NRL version). All I can tell you about Fatty is that he grew up in vaguely the same part of Brisbane I did and that he played for Wests Mitchelton rugby league club before hitting the big time as an A-grade player and now a TV personality. He seems like a reasonable kind of bloke and he still makes time to support his old juniors club, which is a good thing. This site might be helpful if you want to know more.

OJ book now a collectible

"A book becomes collectible when it's hard to find, and this will become very, very collectible, surely worth four figures." So says spokesman Richard Davies about the O.J.Simpson If I Did It book. The publishers have recalled it for pulping, but there's every chance that at least some copies will escape destruction. It won't be long before portions of the book and the television interview that was supposed to accompany it turn up on the internet. Then it will be up to each of us to decide whether we want to read it or not - and what the moral issues are.

Borat banned (sort of)

It's not the anti-semitism that's worrying Israeli authorities about # Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, it's the lead character's revealing swimming costume, which has been banned from promotional material. The film will open in Israel on November 30 and audience reaction will be interesting (to say the least).
PS: The real president of Kazakhstan has laughed-off the film, saying any publicity for his country is good.

RIP Robert Altman

Director Robert Altman, of M*A*S*H, Nashville, A Prairie Home Companion and Nashville fame, has died at age 81, and earns an entry into the Celebrity Deaths Archive.

Thorpedo crisis continues

The headline screams: Gould, Hackett lead tributes for Thorpe and, as I write, it's still leading ABC News Online. Goodness gracious, he's only 24, he's just a sportsman (albeit a very good one) and he's not dead. Get a grip, people.

Thorpedo crisis

The world holds its breath. The tension is palpable. The future hangs in the balance. Is it Iraq? Is it the environment? Has Kim Beazley put his foot in his mouth again? No, it's Ian Thorpe preparing to announce whether he'll swim competitively again. If this really is the most important story in the world, or even in Australia, right now, I'll walk backwards to Bourke.

Talking politics

Opposition leader Kim Beazley's gaffe in calling Rove McManus "Karl Rove" reminded me of former Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, whose clumsy way with words was legendary. When asked what he thought of (the satirical television program) The Gillies Report, Bjelke-Petersen purportedly replied "Well, it's a very long report and I haven't read all of it yet."

Panto points

Thanks to the listener of Spencer Howson's show this morning who pointed out by email that the Queensland Theatre Company used to do pantos many years ago, when the cast members included Bille Brown and Geoffrey Rush. And apologies to anyone who thought I was saying that QTC is trying to revive the panto. If that was the case, there'd be one in the 2007 season - and there isn't. A shame, really, because if they keep at it, they might help create a whole new set of regular theatregoers.

ARIA update

As I said on my other blog:

And the Michael Cole Award* for most boorish behaviour by a visiting celebrity involving a bottle of liquor goes to Johnny Knoxville. In other ARIA Awards news, didn’t Queenslanders Bernard Fanning, The Veronicas and Troy Cassar-Daley do well? I thought it interesting, though, that the two awards based on actual record sales went to industry “outsiders” (i.e. people who don’t fit the image that the music biz likes to present and don’t get played a lot on mainstream radio) - dance act TV Rock featuring Seany B (biggest-selling single) and reborn boy band Human Nature (biggest-selling album)..

* Michael Cole was the star of The Mod Squad who, in a tired and emotional state, swore during the Logies telecast in 1973.

RIP Gwen Meredith

I'm just old enough to remember hearing on the radio: "Blue Hills by Gwen Meredith". The writer of Australia's best-known radio soap opera has died at age 98, and I join many others in acknowledging her.

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